You can’t see it. You can’t touch it. But the sensation of fear is very real. It is overwhelming and makes us do things that we would not normally do.
When our confidence is shaken and we are thrust into a different personal direction, we naturally get a bit scared and unnerved. It is a new territory and we are unsure of what to do and how to act. Unfortunately, life does not come with a manual and we can’t merely thumb through a Table of Contents looking for answers.
Grief can make a person feel fearful. The comfort and security of a partner, friend, or loved one is gone and uncertainty and loneliness fill the nights. I remember physically shaking with fear when I realized that my husband was actually gone and I was now a single parent and the only adult in the house. My appetite decreased and I started to lose weight. I went on long walks with the dog at night searching for clues to my recovery. Looking up into the immense darkness illuminated only by tiny twinkling far-off stars, I wished for answers to rain down upon me like a forceful summer storm to dissolve the cruel, isolating crust that was layering around my broken heart.
Little things that never bothered me before, now set me off into a tail spin. When the phone rang past nine o’clock at night, I was sure it was bad news from a family member. When the kids were late coming home from an activity, I was paranoid that there had been an accident and that they were injured. I usually rushed to phone them so that my heart would stop racing. Fear was constantly visiting my life and staying much too long. I needed to build my trust again. Intellectually I understood the adage, “bad things happen to good people” and that I was not necessarily doomed by my recent misfortune. But that was just an anonymous quote in my head and its words were sterile and uncomforting.
Finally, I forced myself to go back to my true character and my usual optimistic view of life. I re-inventoried the experiences of my existence and started to realize that although my husband had been taken away from me, I had also received many gifts along the way. I experienced a wonderful childhood that allowed me to be well-educated, and to be a successful person. I was still enjoying the love and support of both of my parents and my three sisters and their families. I had wonderful children who never let me feel alone or unloved. And I had my health, which is a gift that I needed to appreciate more.
Life is a lot like Jell-O. You can’t nail it to the wall and keep it forever. It is colorful, sweet and flavorful, and it moves around a lot. It needs to be enjoyed in the moment and it is fun to share!
So, try and peek out from under the cover of your doubt and spoon into the pleasing parts of your life. Linger awhile and savor the rich flavors that will undoubtedly bring back the memories of your good life. Little by little, move forward and leave the shadow of fear behind.
Kim Meredith 2012